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Original Research Papers

Short-term volume changes of the Greenland ice sheet in response to doubled CO2 conditions

Authors:

R. S. W. van de Wal ,

Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research,Utrecht University, NL
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M. Wild,

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, CH
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J. de Wolde

Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research,Utrecht University, NL
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the rôle of accumulation and cloudiness changes in the response of the Greenland ice sheet to global warming. Changes in accumulation or cloudiness were often neglected, or coupled to temperature changes. We used model output on temperature, precipitation and cloudiness from a GCM (ECHAM4 T106). The GCM output was used to drive the Greenland model that exists of a vertically averaged ice flow model, coupled to a 1D surface energy balance model that calculates the ablation. Variables are temperature, accumulation and cloudiness. Sensitivity experiments with this model show that changes in accumulation are very important for the ice sheet mass balance, whereas cloudiness is of secondary importance. If the Greenland model is forced by the GCM output, the Greenland model is found to contribute 70% less to sea level rise after 70 years than is indicated by the results presented in the IPCC report. This large discrepancy is mainly due to the fact that the enhanced ablation is strongly compensated by increased accumulation. Comparing the result obtained here with changes in mass balance derived directly from the same general circulation model, indicates a 20% larger contribution to sea level. This increase is due to changes in ice flow, and a different method for the ablation calculation.

How to Cite: van de Wal, R.S.W., Wild, M. and de Wolde, J., 2001. Short-term volume changes of the Greenland ice sheet in response to doubled CO2 conditions. Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 53(1), pp.94–102. DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/tellusb.v53i1.16547
  Published on 01 Jan 2001
 Accepted on 10 Jul 2000            Submitted on 17 May 1999

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